Senior Editor

The Inertia

Last year around this time, we pulled up outside a beautiful little house on the North Shore. Like many of those houses have, there was a small covered porch overlooking a lush lawn surrounded by plumeria. Sitting on the porch with his friends was Nathan Florence.

He’s a shy, unassuming guy–a bit nervous in front of a camera there to unblinkingly stare at him while he talked about himself. It’s strange what can make people uncomfortable because Nathan spends much of his life doing something that is much more than just uncomfortable to 99.9% of the world. To the normal person, what he does is downright terrifying. Take his wipeout at Maverick’s, for example. Or his impossible drop at Teahupoo. He does things on waves that only a very select few will ever be able to do. And of those select few, Nathan Florence does it better than most.

While his brother John lines walls with trophies and (happily) deals with adoring fans, Nathan quietly goes about the business of surfing massive waves with close friends, and there’s nothing on earth he loves more. “There’s just a very specific high you get,” he told me. “You’re with your friends, you just survived a 15-foot Chopes paddle swell, you’re having a beer at the end of the day. You’re on this life high from the adrenaline. That’s what we kind of live for.’

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